Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Minis game mechanics
I'll try to keep this short but deep.
Do you like minis games with high lethality? What I mean by this is how fast your units die on the battlefield. An example could be a unit in Warhammer missing their armor save or a unit in Warmachine getting sniped. How fast do you want your units to die? What feels right to you?
What about damage on armor? Do you like the Warmachine warjack design where you have to take off multiple boxes, thus damaging certain weapon systems before being boxed? Or do you like the 40K mechanic there's a vehicle damage chart that determines what happens to your vehicle? The difference between these two is that in 40K, your vehicle can potentially get 1-shotted off a lucky roll whereas in Warmachine, this is almost impossible.
Going off of vehicle damage, what about Flames of War? This is where your M4 Sherman tank has 6 armor in the front and the main gun from the Panther is strength 13. There's basically no saves you can take from this kind of firepower and once you're hit, you're good as dead (3+ firepower kills you instantly). It's realistic, it's visceral and the damage feels very real.
So with that said, what kind of lethality feels good to you? Do you enjoy the damage mechanic of Warmachine, Warhammer or Flames of War. All 3 plays with armor so I'm a bit curious to see what your opinions are. As you guys know, I'm designing a mech-style minis game on the side and I'm looking for feedback.
To keep the design gears turning, I want to talk about combat systems really quick. Let's just take ranged skills for now and compare how it works in those games mentioned above. Do you guys like the Warhammer mechanic? I'm talking strictly Warhammer WHFB and not 40K (because 6th Ed. will see range modifiers). You have a BS of 3, you normally need 4s to hit but in long range, it'll be +1 so 5s. Do you guys like Warmachine? You have a RAT of 7, vs. a DEF14 target you need 7s to hit on a 2d6 system. There is no such thing as long range, but if you stand behind cover you get +4 to your DEF and if you stand still and aim, you gain +2 RAT. Warhammer also has forms of cover, so the biggest difference here is the aiming mechanic vs. long range modifier.
Now, let's check out Flames of War. You have a Trained soldier shooting at a Veteran soldier. The Veteran soldier has years of combat experience and knows how to use the terrain to his advantage, knows when to take cover and how to respond to war in general. The Trained soldier knows only what he has been taught (vs. a Conscript who's otherwise garbage). The combat system in Flames of War incorporates battlefield experience with combat performance. A Veteran soldier needs 4s to be hit whereas a Trained soldier needs 3s and so on. There's also long range +1 modifier, concealment (from cover), and Gone to Ground mechanics to further increase/decrease your chances of being hit.
The one thing to keep in mind here is the lethality of the games mentioned and the weapons used in games. The majority of the damage from Warhammer 40K and Flames of War comes from ranged weapons. The majority of the damage in Warmachine is melee based. Take a moment and look at how damaging certain weapons are in relation to proximity and the combat system itself. FoW might have the highest lethality of all the game systems, but their unique combat system makes certain troops completely ineffective vs. others by default. Of course, just in any miniatures game that uses dice mechanics, a lucky roll from a Lascannon can down a Land Raider when shot by a Guardsman. Luck exists, so I'm trying to find that fine line where it fits my main design goals: A deep game that's easy to understand and pick up.
Thanks for reading!